Glossary

  • A

    • aquifer
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      aquifer

      Underground layer or bed of sand, rock or gravel supplying groundwater to wells, springs etc. Withdrawing water from an aquifer at a rate exceeding its natural recharge is called mining.

  • C

    • CO2
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      CO2

      CO2, or carbon dioxide, is a colourless and odourless gas comprising one carbon and two oxygen atoms. It occurs when humans or animals breathe, or when organic matter decomposes. Its release into the atmosphere is referred to as CO2 emissions. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, contributes to the greenhouse effect and is widely considered to accelerate global warming

    • collection
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      collection

      As part of the water cycle, water that has fallen from the sky, run over soil and flows into the ocean, rivers or lakes

    • condensation
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      condensation

      The change of state that occurs when water vapour cools down and returns to a liquid

  • D

    • density anomaly
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      density anomaly

      Water's highest density (and smallest volume) occurs at 4° C (39.2° F). This is the reason why solid water (ice) floats on top of liquid water

    • desalination
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      desalination

      A process to remove the salt from salty water. Desalination plants are usually located in coastal areas, where they turn sea water into drinking water. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Spain and the United States are some of the main countries using desalination to increase their drinking water supply

    • drinking water
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      drinking water

      Water fit for consumption by people. Drinking water is also called potable water

  • E

    • evaporation
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      evaporation

      Water heated up by the sun turns into vapour and goes into the air. This process is called evaporation

  • F

  • G

  • H

    • H2O
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      H2O

      Water's molecular symbol. Water consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom

    • hydroelectricity
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      hydroelectricity

      Electricity generated by using the force of fast-flowing water. Also called hydroelectric power

  • I

    • infiltration
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      infiltration

      Part of the water cycle where precipitation falls on land and soaks into the ground

    • irrigation
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      irrigation

      Artificial watering of agricultural soil

  • K

    • kilowatt-hour
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      kilowatt-hour

      Unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt of power used for one hour

  • P

    • precipitation
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      precipitation

      Water that falls from the sky in the form of rain, sleet, snow or hail

  • S

    • sewage treatment plant
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      sewage treatment plant

      (or wastewater treatment plant) Place where contaminants are removed from sewage/wastewater

    • surface water
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      surface water

      Freshwater collected in lakes, ponds, rivers or other above-ground bodies of water

  • T

    • thermoelectricity
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      thermoelectricity

      Electricity generated from heat

    • transpiration
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      transpiration

      The process in which water contained in plants is heated up by the sun, becomes gaseous and goes into the air

  • U

    • urbanisation
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      urbanisation

      The process by which city populations grow at the expense of rural areas

  • W

    • wastewater
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      wastewater

      Water that has been used in homes, businesses or industry. Wastewater is also called sewage

    • water cycle
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      water cycle

      The water cycle describes the continuous circulation of water on Earth

    • water scarcity
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      water scarcity

      An area is considered water-scarce when the yearly amount of available water drops below 1,000 cubic metres per person. Absolute water scarcity means less than 500 cubic metres of water are available per person and year

    • water stress
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      water stress

      An area is considered water-stressed when its annual supply of water is less than 1,700 cubic metres per person

    • water table
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      water table

      Upper surface level of groundwater

    • water use
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      water use

      Water use means either water being temporarily withdrawn from its source (water withdrawal), or water being permanently removed from its original source (water consumption)

    • water-energy nexus
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      water-energy nexus

      Term to describe the relationship between water and energy: water use requires energy, and energy production requires water

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